Thomson Funeral Home

669 Broadway, Winnipeg, MB


Donna Eleanor Johnstone

April 28, 1927July 31, 2019

With overwhelming sadness and broken hearts, we announce the passing of our beloved Mother and family matriarch, Wednesday, July 31, 2019 at Riverview Health Centre, after a long and hard-fought battle with COPD.

Left to cherish her memory are daughters, Norma (Don), Sharon (Grant); and son Alan (Shelley). Mom was a nurturing, proud and loving Gram/Gigi to nine grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. She will be missed and remembered by sister-in-law Helen Johnstone and life-long friend Doreen Frame, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Mom was predeceased by her parents, six brothers, a sister and our father Norm, who passed in 2003.

Born April 28, 1927 in Lenore, MB, Mom was the youngest of eight children born to Dan and Ellen Gillies. Following high school, she moved to Winnipeg in January, 1946 to begin training in pursuit of becoming a registered nurse, graduating from the old Grace Hospital in 1949. She formed friendships with many of her fellow classmates and maintained contact with them throughout the years. Mom and Dad met in 1947 when he was a patient and she was a nursing student. They married on July 9, 1949 and shared 54 memorable years.

After we kids were in school, Mom returned to the work force, eventually becoming head/charge nurse on the R2-S2 ward at the Women's Centre. "Mrs J" was admired and respected by her co-workers who spoke fondly of her and the memories made while working together. Mom retired from her nursing career in 1982, allowing her the time to take up new interests like swimming and line-dancing. Mom and Dad enjoyed travelling but their true oasis was their park-like home in Clandeboye.

After Dad's passing, Mom kept herself busy and was always up on current events and world news. She was an avid reader and sports fan who enjoyed curling, football and hockey and she always knew the latest standings! Mom loved our family gatherings and the laughter and fun that was so much a part of them. Her sense of humour was second to none and she'll be remembered for her warm smile and hearty laugh. Mom was a wonderful listener, always supportive and willing to lend an ear, while never being judgmental. She liked to entertain and we could always trust "Big Mom" (as she was affectionately known) to have the martini glasses chilled and ready! She lived independently with the support of family and home care until April of this year and maintained her fierce and determined spirit until the very last.

Many thanks to the team at Riverview 2W Chronic Care and special thanks to Rose for her kindness and compassion to our Mom during her stay. Heartfelt thanks to family and the many friends who showed their support through phone calls and visits during the past few months. Mom treasured and appreciated each and every one of you!

In keeping with her wishes, there will be a private family gathering to honour and celebrate our beautiful Mom and her well-lived life. Those who wish can make a donation in her memory to the Manitoba Lung Association or charity of choice.

A true warrior and the very heart of our family, we feel blessed to have had you for so many years, Mom. Though a huge void is left in our lives, a part of you will live forever on in us. XOXO


  • Lung Association of Manitoba
  • Online Donations


  • A private family was held.

Memories and condolences

Bring comfort and tell the story of your loved one’s lifetime. Leave a memory, tell a favorite story or share a kind word or condolence.

receive updates

when friends and family add new memories


for sharing memories and condolences